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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Seniors participate in exercises as part of the Senior Lighthouse Program at the Foreman-Reynaud Community Center. The sessions are led by physical therapist Gerald Victor. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)<br />

Seniors participate in exercises as part of the Senior Lighthouse Program at the Foreman-Reynaud Community Center. The sessions are led by physical therapist Gerald Victor. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Program brings aerobic exercise to seniors through music

Last Modified: Wednesday, February 05, 2014 5:20 PM

By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

A group of seniors at the Foreman-Reynaud Community Center are mixing music, exercise and fun through the Senior Lighthouse Program’s zydeco aerobics classes.

The classes run 5-6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and are led by physical therapist Gerald Victor.

“I have been teaching the class for a couple of weeks and have been in physical therapy for the past 25 years,” he said.

“I have always done groups at the different facilities I have worked with and have always enjoyed doing it. I talked about doing a Sit and Be Fit group where some people can exercise from a chair. Participants are ages 50 and up.”

He said the program includes breathing exercises.

“We do cardio and a lot of breathing exercises,” he said.

“We do a lot of ankle pumps, work on different parts of the body such as quad exercises, try to keep the cardiovascular system going and on the breathing exercises, which are just as important as the physical exercises. It is good for the cardiac system. We have some participants who are dealing with diabetes, so exercise is so important for them. I like to see it because a lot of times people don’t exercise until something happens to them; they may break a hip or hurt a knee then have to go to rehab. I like to see them be able to exercise before something like that happens.”

The classes can be a bit challenging, but not so much as to not be enjoyable. More advanced participants do more difficult exercises. Feedback from participants has been positive.

“After they first started it they saw that they liked it. We do a lot of the exercises that we do in therapy — a lot of diagonal exercises, some weight-shifting exercises,” Victor said.

“They tell me they really enjoy it and have been surprised at the different types of exercises that we do and how they benefit them. They thought it was going to be easy because they would be sitting in a chair, but it was exhausting. They still enjoy it. It is still fun and that makes it easier for them. We hope to be able to grow.”

The program also brings in guest speakers to address a variety of topics.

“It gives us good information on how to keep healthy,” said Stephanie Chretien, executive director of the community center.

“We are excited to stay healthy and get different groups. So far we have had Home Health 2000, Memorial Hospital, Johnson Funeral Home, King’s Funeral Home and various organizations and given input on and health and other topics. The program has been going on for five years. Our ladies get to socialize with each other and go to health workshops in the area. They enjoy keeping healthy.”

For more information, call the community center at 436-2500.

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